Show MoreRenowned psychologist Erik Erikson is best known for his theory of psychosocial stages of personality development. Unlike Freud, Erikson’s theory spans a person’s entire lifespan, from childhood to old age. One of the main elements of Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity (Cherry, 2013). Ego Identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction (Cherry, 2013). Erikson believed that our ego identity is constantly changing due to new experiences and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others (Cherry, 2013). The stages of Erikson’s theory are concerned with becoming competent in an area of life (Cherry, 2013). Erikson believed that if a stage is handled…show more content…
These stages, however, can be resolved successfully at a later time (McLeod, 2008). The better that people come through each crisis, the better they will tend to deal with what lies ahead, but this is not to say that all is lost and never to be recovered if a person has had a negative experience during any particular crisis stage. Lessons can be revisited successfully when they recur, if they are recognized and welcomed (“Erikson’s Psychosocial,” 2013) I am currently 30 years of age. I see myself as being in the proper stage for my age which is intimacy vs. isolation and is described by Erikson as young adults need to form loving intimate relationships with others. According to Erikson, success leads to strong relationships, while failure leads to loneliness and isolation. My current stage has a substantial influence in my life as I attempt to create long and lasting relationships with friends. Some of my friends are not my age, but I don’t let this stop me from finding meaningful relationships with them. For example, I am going out to the movies this weekend with a friend I have known for a long time from church, who is much closer to my mother’s age than my own. We don’t have any trouble conversing or getting along despite our age difference. I must admit that I don’t have many meaningful relationships in my life due mostly to my introverted
Intimacy versus isolation is the sixth stage of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. This stage takes place during young adulthood between the ages of approximately 19 and 40. During this period, the major conflict centers on forming intimate, loving relationships with other people.
Understanding Psychosocial Development Theory
Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development proposes that people pass through a series of stages centered on social and emotional development.
At each point in a person’s life, he or she faces a developmental conflict that must be resolved. People who overcome these conflicts are able to achieve psychological skills that ultimately last the rest of a person’s life. Those who fail to master these challenges will continue to struggle.
One thing that made Erikson’s theory unique is that unlike many other developmental theories, the psychosocial stages look at how people change and grow over the course of the entire lifetime.
An Overview of the Intimacy Versus Isolation Stage
This sixth stage of psychosocial development consists of:
- Psychosocial Conflict: Intimacy versus isolation
- Major Question: "Will I be loved or will I be alone?"
- Basic Virtue: Love
- Important Event(s):Romantic Relationships
What Happens During This Stage
Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed relationships with other people. These emotionally intimate relationships as people enter adulthood play the critical role in the intimacy versus isolation stage.
Such relationships are often romantic in nature, but Erikson believed that close friendships were also important. Erikson described intimate relationships as those characterized by closeness, honesty, and love.
People who are successful in resolving the conflict of the intimacy versus isolation stage are able to develop deep, meaningful relationships with others.
They have close, lasting romantic relationships, but they also forge strong relationships with family and friends.
Success leads to strong relationships, while failure results in loneliness and isolation. Adults who struggle with this stage experience poor romantic relationships. They might never share deep intimacy with their partners or might even struggle to develop any relationships at all. This can be particularly difficult as these individuals watch friends and acquaintances fall in love, get married, and start families. Those who struggle to form intimacy with others are often left feeling lonely and isolated. Some individuals may feel particularly lonely if they struggle to form close friendships with others.
A Sense of Self Contributes to Intimacy or Isolation
While psychosocial theory is often presented as a series of neatly defined, sequential steps, it is important to remember that each stage contributes to the next. For example, Erikson believed that having a fully formed sense of self (established during the identity versus confusion stage) is essential to being able to form intimate relationships. Studies have demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self-tend to have less committed relationships and are more likely to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression.
Erikson, EH. Childhood and Society. 2nd ed. New York: Norton; 1963.
Erikson, EH. Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton; 1968.
Erikson, EH. The Life Cycle Completed. New York/London: Norton; 1982.